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I want to convert a standard Lionel UCS track for use with a toggle or push button (doesn’t matter) and eliminate the standard two-button box controller. I have seen threads about this in the past but, frankly, they were unclear or difficult to follow.

Can someone post a wiring diagram/instructions that are easily readable and clear on how to do this.

Here are two items that I’m hoping will simplify this: 1) I’m using track power for the UCS section and,  2) I do not need the uncouple functionality. Just unloading capability.

Thanks in advance!

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Thanks, Stan. Much appreciated. And thanks for the tip on the type of switch.

I guess what I'm looking for (as mentioned above ) is a simple wiring diagram that I can follow. The UCS section has 4 posts and these DPDT switches (if I'm reading it right) have 6 posts/terminals. So I'm looking for a clear picture on which wires go where. The one diagram in the linked thread is for Fastrak; not sure if that's the same set up as a Lionel classic UCS. Also, I don't need uncoupling so assume that changes the wiring.

Since I don't have your particular UCS section, I am somewhat reluctant to suggest this.  But in the absence of any further advice, consider the following.

ucs conundrum 

Part of the problem is there are apparently different versions of the UCS.  I think the term "UCS" is used generically and hence might refer to a variety of products from Lionel and even other track manufacturers.

BUT, suppose you have the style on top of the above diagram.

ucs conundrum possible solution

Apparently you have no use for the "COIL" or uncoupling function.  As I understand it, most UCS tracks have the interesting feature of activating BOTH the uncoupling coil AND the unloading control rails together.  So if you don't need/want this feature, I believe you can use a simple 2-terminal on-off switch (pushbutton or momentary toggle).  

While you wait to see if someone more knowledgeable responds, you might try this simple 5-minute experiment.  This assumes you have the style of UCS in the top of the earlier diagram.

Step 1. Connect the "orange' wire as shown.

Step 2. Place an unloading operating car (coal car, etc.) on the UCS and momentary touch the blue wires together to simulate have a switch.

Does the car start operating as you wish?  If so, then you can buy a simple low-cost "SPST" 2-terminal on-off switch for a couple bucks.  And you wouldn't need to mess with the DPDT or similar more complicated switches.



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Once again, thanks, and appreciate your follow-up on this.

Interesting about the styles, or versions, of UCS track sections and I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that there are different configurations out there. Especially after decades of Lionel producing these. Frankly, all I know about mine (I have 3-4 of them) are that they are Lionel part 6-65530 with the red magnet.

I’ve always found those controller boxes to be somewhat problematic and, in fact, a few of mine seem to be degrading to the point where pushing buttons works sometimes; other times not so much. That’s how I ended up in this thread wondering about a switch replacement.

Thanks for the suggestion of the quick test and will give it a try!    And report back here.

With everything tied to the magnet coil, bypassing might side step a bit of resistance the coils may have.  I doubt anything would be an issue except for maybe the PW "electronic set".  I think a few op. cars may use the magnet for a trigger though. If it isn't going to be easy to change later, consider adding a wire  for the magnet, but leave it dangle (Mark it with a note on masking tape, covered by Scotch tape so you don't say "whut dat" in twenty years 😉)

Eureka, worked!!  Jumper wire between the #1 and #4 posts and two wires to #'s 2 and 3 for simulating a switch. Excellent results with coal, logs and other unloading rolling stock. Nice crisp and snappy operation.

This is excellent as I can pick up some SPST momentary switches and convert all my UCS operating track pieces.

So simple with less wiring and no complicated switches.

Thanks so much for your input and suggestions. And your drawings were excellent. Nominating this for the "OGR Tip of the Month!"  


The feed of the nôrmally hot/varible to the acc. can be a constant voltage instead, sure. You must disconnect said acc rail and use the constant (assuming a outside rail common/return is there)

Some transformers use common as variable, some use hot; and even with good phasing on two or more transformers, you may have some unusable acc. terminal combos that would be out of phase; or have unexpectedly high voltage now.

Lionel set these up to do different things yet be mostly compatible. The wiring would differ according to what you want it do. 

 A more specific question/situation is kinda needed to avoid writing a book.

I always wire the uncoupler magnet to a separate momentary push button switch that is on my active track diagram control panel.  The uncoupling track magnet is powered by a 14 volt transformer that is also used for 30 track Marx switches.

I wire up the slide track contacts that operate a car like the cattle car to a separate  momentary push button switch on the control panel that has a group of push buttons and slide switches all labelled to the use.  I use track or train voltage of the track the UCS is on to power cars like the cattle and barrel unloading cars so I can change the voltage with the train LW transformer to control the action as needed.

I have never used a Lionel controller for my USC track sections and have used the above methods for over 40 years without issues.


I set the O controller according to Stans one button switch approach. All operating cars work great accept the operating barrel car 3562-25. Because of how long this barrel car is, Lionel designed both shoes to connect directly to the positive motor, grounded by the chassis. So when activated, my transformer shorts out. I just added an additional controller just for the barrel car but I suppose all I could do is disconnect one of the shoes and it will work. Thanks for the help.

Apparently the 3562-25 is one of those "oddball" operating cars requiring special attention.  I found this OGR thread that suggestd Lionel provided a special operating track section just for this car.  As highlighted below if the car is used on a "standard" UCS that you should position only one of the operating shoes on the UCS operating rails.


So to your point, I guess you could remove one shoe if your layout has already been "permanently fastened" to expect the loader to function at a specific position.  Else I suppose you could "offset" the position of the operating point so that only one shoe falls on the trigger rail.  I think I've managed to confuse myself  ... not sure I'm making any sense!


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